By G9ija

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Monday said the promises he made when he assumed office in 2015 have been largely fulfilled.

He stated this at a maiden press conference at the newly-inaugurated Press Centre, Government House, Asaba.

Okowa said in spite of the many distractions by the opposition All Progressives Congress in the state, his administration’s achievements were at the media domain, adding that journalists, people of the state and the civil servants, in particular, contributed to the success.

He said his first two years in office were turbulent such that it was difficult to even pay workers’ salaries but his administration weathered the storm.

He said: “The peace existing in the state today could be attributed to God and the efforts of my administration to succeed.

“I want to thank the traditional rulers, royal fathers, youths and indeed religious leaders for their cooperation over these eight years that had ensured peace in the state.

“Whatever we have achieved in the past eight years, we give thanks to God and we thank the people of the state for their cooperation.”

Okowa said his administration had constructed over 2,000 kilometres of roads and 1,000 drainages and many bridges linking various communities, including riverine communities in the state.

According to him, the ravaging flood that flows from the Okpanam axis of the state capital to Asaba over the years have been stopped with storm water drainage of which impact has saved lots of buildings today in Asaba and environs.

He added: “This government also undertook a study of the situation in Warri and Effurun areas of the state, with a drainage project targeted to gulp about N20 billion.

“The Warri drainage project is 70 per cent competed, and at its completion, it will be possible to build roads that could stand the test of time.

“The cost of the drainage project can scare anyone but my government is focused and we do not want to build roads that will fail.

“I want to build a lasting foundation such that after the drainage, we can build roads that can last.

“Last year, we awarded contract for a total reconstruction of Warri Township Stadium because of the appreciable work done on the drainage.”

He said that his administration established four state universities to absorb students of the state origin among others who could not be absorbed in other universities, even when they met the qualification.

According to Okowa, the students are not paying tuition fee but an appreciable amount to enable the universities run internal administration while the government pays the teachers’ salaries.

“We do not charge fees in Delta universities but running costs and our universities have been in sessions without hitches, but unfortunately, those in the states whose government kept at home for eight months are criticising the state,” he added.

He noted that the government built technical schools with the state-of-the-arts facilities to aide technical education and advocated introduction of entrepreneurial skill in the state universities as the way to go.

He said that the State Contributory Health Insurance Scheme enrolled over one million people, aimed at ensuring improved health for the people.

Workers’ salaries and allowances are now paid as and when due, he said, adding: “Recently, the opposition APC rumoured about Delta borrowing N850 billion, which is a lie from the pit of hell.

“I did explain that the Federal Government owed us about N217 billion as they owe several other states and we said let us take a bridging finance of N150 billion, which was later pruned to N100 billion.

“We got approval from the State Executive Council and the State House of Assembly to secure the bridging finance.

“We ended up taking only N91 billion, which we tied to various projects to ward off current high inflation rate in the country.

“All the projects listed, including the Ughelli-Asaba Road project, the Koka Interchange, pension arrears and grants to local government councils.

“Every kobo spent from the bridging finance is out there.

“We believe that we are solvent enough to run the state and when we borrow, we are responsible to ensure that we have means to pay.

“In all our achievements, we give credence to the civil servants and journalists, without whom we cannot achieve these things.”